The holiday season has intervened between you and me, reader, and I have just now fought my way back to you (and to the blog, which misses me). Luckily, something besides the bighting, dangerous cold (left safely behind in New Haven) has been keeping me busy. Away from my computer (the powerful one, that is) I have sunk myself back into Left 4 Dead 2. Owen, Henry, and I play almost every night now, and it’s a welcome escape from the exciting familial homestead and all of its attending wonders.
I’ve also delved briefly into The Blackwell Legacy, an independent adventure game That stars Rosangela, a young writer in New York who discovers that she is a medium. It’s pretty fun so far. The music ranges from vaguely moody appropriately (for the various settings) mysterious tunes to some strangely appropriate techno beats. The main actress takes a little getting used to, but after a while, she and the rest of the voice cast quietly, modestly sell their world.
By far the most interesting part of the game so far (aside from the story, which I very much like) is the puzzle format surrounding Rosangela’s notebook. There, she makes note of people and places that are important to her present investigation. Thus, while reporting on the death of a college student (or learning more about your aunt’s death), you can click on each topic and hear Rosangela’s thoughts. This is nothing new. What is new is the fact that getting her to go over something in her head will often reveal a new idea or topic and add it to the notebook. In this way, a normally standard item mechanic (using items on each other or examining items to take them apart or find hidden information) is transformed into a kind of verbal archaeology. As the player, you must explore Rosangela’s thoughts and opinions on the situation at hand to solve several puzzles (I’m sure there will be more than the few I have encountered).
It feels great to explore Rosangela’s thoughts and find the answers to problems inside your own head. It has a great Blade Runner feel to it, actually (the game, that is), calling to mind the deep codex trees and investigative photo work done in that great adventure game. There a few other games asking me for some of my time, but only LittleBigPlanet (on the PSP) is getting any of it. I never played the original game, so I’m new to the catchy music (half of it seemingly cribbed from Thievery Corporation. Ironic, right?), weird levels, and the pleasant voice of Stephen Fry. I enjoy the game, for what it is, but I wish Fry had something to say about every level. I’m in Africa now (I think?), and he’s been silent for a while. Hopefully that will change soon.